I just really want to start off by saying—how the hell are you supposed to top this year’s birthday gift?
A helicopter ride over Manhattan is definitely up there now.
Boys, if you reaaally want to impress your girlfriends and have a reasonably okay credit limit then I suggest you try out Sam’s ridonkolous gift idea.
Last year, Sam and I started the “Birthday Experience” where we go somewhere for either one’s birthday to celebrate. Copenhagen and Disneyland Paris last year, his and hers respectively. And this year, unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it to Sam’s Egyptian Birthday trip. (Don’t ask, sensitive topic.)
I love New York. I fell in love with the city the first time I went there and because Sam’s never been, thought it would make for an amazing birthday trip!
This year, Sam surprised me with an awesome birthday gift. Quite bold though, as he knows I’m scared of heights. But for this one, I made an exception. (For good reason.)
Here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking of trying out this epic experience:
You will find New York Helicopters at Pier 6 near the Staten Ferry Island terminal. A lot of other helicopter companies base themselves there so make sure you check in the right one.
You’re meant to check in 30 minutes before but the eager beavers in us came in an hour early and they were kind enough to let us in on the earlier one.
They fly every 15 minutes.
After waiting for about 10 minutes, they called us so they can strap in a belted life jacket. They explain some safety rules like don’t open the doors (duh) and wait until they open it for you once you’ve landed after the flight.
The helicopter can carry 8 people, two in the front (including the pilot), six in the back. Luckily, we were only 5 passengers. We rode with a girl whose mom was (I assume) scared to go with her on the flight and another lovely couple from Down Under.
Before you get on the plane, they take pictures of you one by one and then assign all passengers a seat. They advise you to strap on and hand you big headphones with a microphone so that we can talk to each other and we can hear what the pilot is saying.
.. And then you are off!
It lasts 15 minutes more or less so it is not that long.
Your pilot will be saying a few things here and there. “To your right, Central Park.” -—you know the gist.
We could not have had a better day. They could cancel due to bad weather and Sam and I have had our fingers crossed for a good couple of days. Thank you, Weather Gods!
They take you back down and they do the whole thing all over again, so you sit on the helicopter and wait while they take pictures of the next passengers. As they assist you out, they are assisting new people in.
You go back inside the building and they talk you into buying the pictures, which you may have probably guessed by now, I caved in to. ($35)
With regards to cost, I can’t tell you exactly how much it was as Sam won’t tell me. But you can buy the ride from $183 on Groupon. Worth every dollar, if you ask me. It’s not like you would ever do it again! (Or would you..)